People Focus, Models & Strategies
The Bible does not command us to plant churches. Jesus commands us to make disciples. That said, a very effective and healthy way for making disciples is gathering new disciples into new groups. Some of these new groups will and should become new churches.
Too often church planters start talking about the model of church they want to plant before some important issues have been addressed. The model they are considering is often based on something they saw, experienced, or read about that worked quite well in a different place, at a different time, or with a different focus group. A mistake the SBTC church planting team sees quite often is a planter trying to bring a particular model of church plant to a community or people group without first having done the hard work of researching, exegeting, and truly understanding that group or community.
Therefore, before a planter starts describing what he wants to do in a church plant, it would behoove him to answer these critical questions:
1. Who is God calling you to reach?
Where is he calling you to plant? Are you looking for a place – any place – to plant the ideal church? Or, are you responding to God’s call to plant the church he has in mind to reach a particular people in a particular place at a particular time? Have you researched and sought to understand as much as possible both the location and the people you are called to? Can you say, without hesitation, “These are the people and this is the place and I understand who they are and how they think?
2. How has God uniquely wired and prepared you?
Do you understand yourself well enough to know what God is calling you to be and do? Certainly, God can work miracles through the least of us, but he usually chooses to work through the nitty-gritty of our flawed personalities, experiences, skills, and abilities. Do yours match what you are setting out to do? A good church planter assessment is essential to help you discover this, especially if you are planting in a cross-cultural setting.
3. Remember that the Great Commission is about making disciples.
Nowhere does Jesus command us to go into the world and plant churches. The end purpose of our calling is to make obedient disciples who worship and glorify God; the best means to accomplish the Great Commission is to plant churches. Do what the Apostle Paul did – he found people, won them to the Lord, and then planted churches.
If this is the case, how are you going to find and connect with lost people? How are you going to make disciples who will then be gathered into a local body? Is what you are planning to do fit with who God has called you to reach? Are you willing to jettison any and every method, program, style, model, or idea that may prove to be an obstacle to reach people? Are you willing to think about how you are going to be a disciple-making, mobilizing, giving and sending missional church before you think about models?
Now, once those issues have been settled – then you are ready to talk about the church (or churches) you want to plant, be it traditional, contemporary, emerging, multi-housing, house church, purpose driven, Cowboy, or whatever. Just make sure the context and the people are driving your style and your model (I didn’t say message, I said model!). Make sure your missional purposes of penetrating lostness with the Light of Jesus Christ and making disciples supersede any consideration of style and model.
The SBTC Church Planting Team does not promote/endorse or train on any given model. For those looking for a template to go on, here is a description of several popular ones.
- Conventional Church Plants (non-organic)
- House / Organic Church Plants
- Country Church Plants
- Cowboy Church Plants
- Texas DEAF Connect
- Multihousing Missions
Areas of Focus for New Work in Texas
Planting support is not limited to these areas, but when asked, these are the areas of greatest need in Texas. (In no particular order)
- Urban Focus
- People Focusing on Hindu / Buddhist / Islam Groups in Texas
- Texas DEAF / Hard of Hearing Peoples
- County Seat, Texas